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Duke University

2080 Duke University Road, Durham, NC 27708, USA

Duke University award
Duke University award
US ranking
position: 9
Tuition & fees per year: $62,688
Acceptance rate: 6.00%
Median alumni salary: $69,932
Avg. SAT and ACT: 1513 SAT, 34 ACT
Entrance difficulty: Very hard

Courtesy of Duke University

What is the history of Duke University?

Duke University, a prestigious institution of higher learning, traces its roots back to 1838. Initially established as Brown's Schoolhouse in Randolph County, North Carolina, the school underwent several transformations, including name changes to Union Institute Academy in 1841, Normal College in 1851, and finally Trinity College in 1859. The institution relocated to Durham in 1892, a move facilitated by the financial support of Washington Duke and Julian S. S. Carr, both of whom had amassed wealth from the tobacco industry.

The university's journey towards academic excellence began in earnest in 1853 when Trinity College was granted the right to confer degrees. The school's commitment to education and faith was encapsulated in its motto "Eruditio et Religio," translating to "Knowledge and Religion." The institution's inclusivity was evident early on, with the graduation of its first female students in 1878, its first international student in 1881, and its first Native American graduate in 1896.

In 1924, James B. Duke, son of Washington Duke, established The Duke Endowment, a $40 million trust fund, a portion of which was allocated to Trinity College. This generous endowment led to the renaming of the school to Duke University in honor of the Duke family. The campus was rebuilt in the Georgian style in 1925.

Despite two brief closures in its history, once during the civil war from 1865-1866 and again from 1922-1924 due to low enrollment, Duke University has continued to grow and evolve. Today, it is one of the most selective universities in the United States, with an acceptance rate of 6.2% for the class of 2026. The university invests over $1 billion annually in research, placing it among the top ten research universities.

Duke University also has a strong presence in Asia, with two concurrent schools: Duke–NUS Medical School in Singapore, established in 2005, and Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China, established in 2013. The university's commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its establishment of the Institute of Policy Sciences and Public Affairs in 1971 and the integration of the women's college into Trinity in 1972.

Duke University's history is intertwined with the Duke family's legacy in the tobacco industry and electricity production. The university has also made significant contributions to college sports, particularly basketball, which began in 1906. The team won its first national championship in 1991 and has since won the NCAA Final Four four more times. Duke football has also seen success, with 17 conference titles since 1920.

What are the faculties and departments at Duke University?

Duke University boasts a broad spectrum of faculties and departments, offering students an array of academic pursuits. One of the key components of the university is the Duke University School of Medicine, which is made up of 25 clinical and basic science departments. This structure fosters a collaborative environment among faculty members, departments, and other schools within the university.

The Trinity College of Arts & Sciences is another significant part of Duke University, offering a diverse range of departments. These include African & African American Studies, Economics, Education, English, Evolutionary Anthropology, Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology & Neuroscience, and Statistical Science.

For those interested in the performing arts, the Department of Theater Studies at Duke University offers a comprehensive study of the history and theory of theater, performance, and dramatic literature. The Thompson Writing Program, on the other hand, provides courses that delve into the intricacies of written, verbal, and digital communication across various disciplines.

Engineering enthusiasts can explore the Duke Pratt School of Engineering, which offers several affiliated programs. These include a Minor in Energy Engineering and the University Program in Materials Science & Engineering.

Duke University also hosts an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning program.

What is the location of Duke University?

Duke University is situated in the city of Durham, in the southern region of the United States. The university's address is 2080 Duke University Road, Durham, with the ZIP code 27708. The institution's official contact number is 684-8111. For those traveling by air, the nearest airport is Raleigh-Durham International.

The university was originally established in 1838 in the city of Trinity before relocating to Durham in 1892.

What is the mission and vision of Duke University?

Duke University's mission and vision are deeply rooted in academic excellence, ethical leadership, and accountability. The university's mission is to offer a superior liberal education to undergraduate students. This is not limited to intellectual growth, but also extends to the development of students as mature adults who uphold high ethical standards and actively participate as leaders in their communities. The mission statement underscores the significance of academic excellence and the cultivation of ethical leaders who will positively influence society.

Duke University also has a distinct vision for the future. As leaders, the university strives to exemplify Duke and recognizes that they are held to the highest standard. They are mindful of their intentions, leading by example and contemplating the consequences of their actions. They welcome questions and challenges, holding individuals and organizations accountable for their actions and decisions. This vision accentuates the importance of accountability and transparency in all aspects of the university's operations.

The university is committed to advancing the frontiers of knowledge and making bold contributions to the international community of scholarship. It promotes an intellectual environment built on a commitment to free and open inquiry. Duke University also aims to alleviate suffering, cure diseases, and promote health through advanced medical research and thoughtful patient care. The university offers extensive educational opportunities, on and beyond their campuses, for traditional students, active professionals, and lifelong learners using the power of information technologies.

Duke University also seeks to foster a deep appreciation for the range of human difference and potential, a sense of the obligations and rewards of citizenship, and a commitment to learning, freedom, and truth. By pursuing these objectives with vision and integrity, Duke University aims to engage the mind, elevate the spirit, and stimulate the best effort of all who are associated with the University. The university's goal is to contribute in a meaningful way to society and the world at large.

What is the accreditation of Duke University?

Duke University holds accreditation from several esteemed bodies, a factor that prospective students should consider when choosing an institution for higher education. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Duke University to confer baccalaureate, masters, doctorate, and professional degrees. This accreditation is a testament to the quality of education provided by the university.

In addition to the university-wide accreditation, specific schools within Duke University also hold specialized accreditations. For instance, the Duke Divinity School has received accreditation from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. This accreditation is a clear indicator of the high standards maintained by the Divinity School in the field of theological education.

Furthermore, the Duke University School of Medicine's entry-level occupational therapy doctoral degree program has been granted Pre-Accreditation Status by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). This pre-accreditation status is a significant step towards full accreditation, which the program is expected to achieve after an on-site evaluation scheduled for Fall 2023. This information is particularly relevant for students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in occupational therapy at Duke University.

In summary, Duke University's accreditations from various bodies reflect its commitment to providing high-quality education across a range of disciplines. These accreditations are a testament to the university's academic rigor and can be a significant factor for prospective students when choosing their place of study.

Duke University Rankings

See where this school lands in our other Rankings to get a bigger picture of the institution's offerings.

24 Most Affordable Colleges in the South in 2023-2024 US

66 Most Affordable Colleges in 2023-2024

182 Best Value Colleges in the South in 2023-2024 US

526 Best Value Colleges in 2023-2024


Duke University Profile - Basic Information

Name of the institution

Duke University

Level of institution

Four or more years

Granulation by control over the institution (public/private)


School type


Setting type

City: Large

Calendar system


Foundation year


Institution size category

10,000 - 19,999

Main student body


Religious affiliation

Protestant (United Methodist Church)

Institutional Category

Degree - granting, primarily baccalaureate or above

Duke University Programs and Degrees

iconMaster's degree
iconBachelor's degree
iconPostbaccalaureate certificate
iconPost-master's certificate
iconDoctor's degree - research/scholarship
iconDoctor's degree - professional practice
iconOther degree
iconCertificate of at least 2 years, but less than 4 years
iconAssociate's degree
iconCertificate of less than 1 year
iconCertificate of at least 1 year, but less than 2 years
iconDoctor's degree - other

Alumni Salary for Duke University Degrees


Avg. salary

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies


Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services






English Language and Literature/Letters


Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Health Professions and Related Programs




Natural Resources and Conservation




Public Administration and Social Service Professions


Social Sciences


Visual and Performing Arts